In The Studio w/ Deep House Legend Jimpster.
Taste-maker, label boss, producer, DJ, remixer. Jamie Odell wears many hats and wears them well. Under his Jimpster alias, he has become one the most revered deep house producer/DJs operating on the scene today. His esteemed labels Freerange and Delusions of Grandeur continue to help break incredible new music and equally impressive acts such as Detroit Swindle, Tornado Wallace and Session Victim. From his UK base, Jimpster has inadvertently become a standard-bearer and custodian of the authentic house sound, and carries this flag to the four corners of the world.
Jimpter’s new artist project via his Freerange imprint personifies summer with its deep, warm & laid back approach and its available right now on Traxsource. With that being said, we caught up with him for a tour around his studio & an exclusive interview in the next instalment of ‘In The Studio’
1) What equipment do you have in your studio? (full studio kit list).
• Mac Book Pro running Logic 9
• Steven Slate Virtual Console Collection / Virtual Buss Compressors / Virtual Tape Machines
• NI Komplete
• Spectrasonics Trillian
• RME Fireface UC soundcard
• Adam A7 and Sub8 Monitoring
• Roland TR808, TR909, TR606
• Roland Juno 106, Super JX
• ARP 2600
• Voyetra Eight
• Fender Rhodes Mark 1
• Waldorf Blofeld
• Roland RE201 Space Echo
• Electro Harmonix Memory Man
• Mutron Bi-Phase
• Lexicon MPX1
• Joe Meek VC3
• Alpha Recording System 3500 3-band Crossover
• Technics 1200 deck
• Vestak PDX-2000 deck
• A&H Xone 22 mixer
• Shure M44G carts
NOTE: Click the images for large versions
2) What is your favourite piece of equipment to use in the studio & why?
A lot of my studio sessions start with an hour or two spent sample hunting so I’m always digging back through old bits of vinyl to try and find a particular sound that might act as a springboard for a track. It’s pretty obvious of course but all those little clicks and pops and happy random accidents that you can find when flicking the needle across an old record really can help bring a track to life or just help something groove nicely.
3) Give us some insight into your production process. How do you typically begin constructing a track?
As I just said, most of my tracks tend to stem from a bunch of samples rather than just sitting down at a keyboard and playing stuff in to the computer. So it might be creating a groove from a bunch of drum samples or it might be sitting at one of the analogue keyboards and jamming, recording some parts into Logic before cutting them up, processing them and arranging them into something good. I usually have a particular idea of the kind of track I’m trying to make when I’m starting out on something and if it’s a remix then you already have a certain set of ‘guidelines’ in mind which will help the direction and process too. In most cases I start by building up a four or eight bar section, adding more and more elements until it feels like what will be the fullest part of the track then I deconstruct it again and make an arrangement based on that initial section. The early stages of creating a track or remix always tend to be the most fun and flow easiest while you’re still full of inspiration and not got tired of hearing the same thing over and over yet. That’s why there’s so much to be said for trying to create and finish tracks quickly. Unfortunately for me, that’s not my natural way so the arrangement stage can often become a bit laborious as your ears get tired and the hours and hours spent fiddling with minute details no-one will ever notice start to take their toll!
4) What piece of studio equipment or production process defines your sound?
I think I’ve probably used the Fender Rhodes on more tracks than any other sound source. It might not always be my own Rhodes that I’ve played in but if I went through my entire back catalogue I’m sure 90% of the tracks would contain a sampled or played Rhodes in there somewhere. It’s simply a beautiful instrument and also pretty versatile considering it only has one basic tone.
5) What piece of hardware/software elevated your production to a higher level & how?
My studio monitors are by no means high end but I do really like the sound of the Adam A7’s especially with the Sub8 woofer. I’m lucky that my room naturally sounds quite dead and don’t seem to have any particular acoustic problems which I’m sure the floor to ceiling wall of vinyl storage has something to do with.
6) What fresh equipment have you recently added to the lab?
I’m by no means a gear freak so I get by on a relatively simple set up which is predominantly software based. I absolutely love the Steven Slate products and have recently added the Buss Compressors to my existing Slate Digital products. They sound great to my ears and really help glue a track together in a very musical way.
7) What are your essential studio supplies (food, drink, cigs etc)?
My studio is in a converted garage next to my house so I don’t really eat in there as my kitchen is only ever 15 feet away. My working day usually starts about 9am so a coffee or two gets me kickstarted but other than that I’m generally just cracking on with the music and trying to get as much done as possible before the school run!. Occasionally if I’ve got a tight deadline I might have to do a few late shifts which invariably involve a bottle of Sailor Jerry. I haven’t smoked for a couple of years now but I’m hopelessly addicted to my e-cig so have that hanging out of my mouth like a dummy most of the time.
8) What list of artists have influenced your sound?
Hmm… That’s a tough one and I wouldn’t say these have necessarily influenced my sound but more a case of providing infinite inspiration. A quick list off the top of my head would have to include Lonnie Liston Smith, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Azymuth, Bill Evans, Trevor Horn, Ron Trent, Larry Heard, I:Cube, Osunlade, Masters At Work, Moodymann, Carl Craig, Pepe Braddock, DJ Gregory, Glenn Underground, Pal Joey, Francois K…. More recently I’m loving the Mood Hut releases – Jack J, Pender Street Steppers, House Of Doors etc. And Harvey Sutherland of course.
9) What are your 3 favourite productions?
- Jimpster – Seventh Wave
Most of the time I labour over tracks for far too long but occasionally I find a flow and manage to get something finished in a couple of days. This was one of those tracks and has a certain feel to it that comes from that fast moving flow.
- Jimpster – Just The Kind Of Girl
A lot of people say I have quite an identifiable sound which I should take as a compliment but I still get frustrated sometimes that I can’t seem to push my sound in new directions as much as I’d like. I guess this track has a slightly heavier feel to it so I like the fact that I’ve managed to get away from my regular feel a little bit on this one.
- Jimpster – Dangly Panther
I guess in a lot of ways this might well be one of my defining Jimpster tracks and still get a lot of pleasure playing this out.
10) What handy studio tip would you pass onto producers out there?
Try to focus in on what the main element or ‘hook’ of the track is and be aware and conscious of how you present that hook and keep it from becoming tiresome on the one hand or obscured by other sounds on the other hand.
11) What new production should your fans be on the lookout for at Traxsource soon?
My new Jimpster EP entitled English Rose will be dropping on the 13th July. Three original tracks to bring three different moods on the dancefloor. I also have an exclusive Jimpster track called Last Days Of Summer as part of the Suol Summer Daze compilation.